Perfect Understanding (1933)

81 or 84 mins | Drama | 11 March 1933

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HISTORY

A May 1932 FD news item reported that Gloria Swanson was going to spend approximately $375,000 to produce this film, which was to be directed by Rowland V. Lee. The Var review states that Michael Farmer, who was married to Swanson at the time this film was made, was the presenter of the picture, although this credit was not seen on the print viewed. The FD review lists Michael Powell as "adaptor," while modern sources credit him with writing the screenplay. According to the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the film was withdrawn from release in 1935 after the Hays Office informed United Artists that they would not be able to issue it a seal of approval "because of the general theme and content." According to Swanson's autobiography, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. suggested to her that she form a production company and make a film in England, where she was living while awaiting the birth of her and Farmer's daughter. Swanson asked Edmund Goulding to write and direct the picture, but he was committed to M-G-M at the time and suggested that she hire Cyril Gardner to direct. Swanson states that the British branch of United Artists and a group of South African investors advanced the production costs, but that she had to sell her own United Artists stock for $200,000 to complete the film. She also confirms that part of the picture was shot on location at Cannes, ... More Less

A May 1932 FD news item reported that Gloria Swanson was going to spend approximately $375,000 to produce this film, which was to be directed by Rowland V. Lee. The Var review states that Michael Farmer, who was married to Swanson at the time this film was made, was the presenter of the picture, although this credit was not seen on the print viewed. The FD review lists Michael Powell as "adaptor," while modern sources credit him with writing the screenplay. According to the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the film was withdrawn from release in 1935 after the Hays Office informed United Artists that they would not be able to issue it a seal of approval "because of the general theme and content." According to Swanson's autobiography, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. suggested to her that she form a production company and make a film in England, where she was living while awaiting the birth of her and Farmer's daughter. Swanson asked Edmund Goulding to write and direct the picture, but he was committed to M-G-M at the time and suggested that she hire Cyril Gardner to direct. Swanson states that the British branch of United Artists and a group of South African investors advanced the production costs, but that she had to sell her own United Artists stock for $200,000 to complete the film. She also confirms that part of the picture was shot on location at Cannes, France. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
26 May 32
p. 1.
Film Daily
24 Feb 33
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 33
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
4 Mar 33
p. 49.
New York Times
23 Feb 33
p. 20.
Variety
28 Feb 33
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Film titles
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Love You So Much That I Hate You," music by Henry Sullivan, words by Rowland Leigh.
DETAILS
Release Date:
11 March 1933
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 22 February 1933
Production Date:
at A.R.P. Studios, Ealing, London
Copyright Claimant:
Gloria Swanson Pictures Corp., Ltd.
Copyright Date:
22 February 1933
Copyright Number:
LP3722
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Photophone System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
81 or 84
Length(in reels):
9
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

American businesswoman Judy Rogers hesitates to accept the marriage proposal of her English boyfriend, Nick Randall, despite his assurances that they will have a better marriage than those of their friends, George and Kitty Drayton, and Sir John and Lady Stephanie Fitzmaurice. Judy tells Nick that she is searching for a "perfect understanding," one in which jealousy does not occur and does not preclude any experience. After the couple playfully sign a marriage contract stipulating that above all else they will remain individuals, they are married. During their honeymoon, they receive a letter from Kitty asking them to join the others in Cannes, and Judy insists that Nick go on alone while she returns to London to decorate their flat. While in Cannes, a drunken Nick spends the night with Stephanie, his ex-mistress. Nick is guilt-stricken over his impetuous act, and confesses to Judy when he returns to London. Judy is crushed, but, remembering their contract, says that it is unimportant. Nonetheless, Nick swears that it will never happen again and that he loves Judy even more because of her forgiveness. Soon after, Nick is away on business, and Judy dines alone with her friend, Ivan Ronnson, a famous explorer who is in love with her, in his apartment. Judy confesses to Ronnson that she is mad with jealousy over Nick's fling, and that she wishes to hurt him as much as he has hurt her. Ronnson replies that he loves her and asks her if she wants him to stay with her instead of leaving the next morning on his latest expedition. Judy tells him that she must think about ... +


American businesswoman Judy Rogers hesitates to accept the marriage proposal of her English boyfriend, Nick Randall, despite his assurances that they will have a better marriage than those of their friends, George and Kitty Drayton, and Sir John and Lady Stephanie Fitzmaurice. Judy tells Nick that she is searching for a "perfect understanding," one in which jealousy does not occur and does not preclude any experience. After the couple playfully sign a marriage contract stipulating that above all else they will remain individuals, they are married. During their honeymoon, they receive a letter from Kitty asking them to join the others in Cannes, and Judy insists that Nick go on alone while she returns to London to decorate their flat. While in Cannes, a drunken Nick spends the night with Stephanie, his ex-mistress. Nick is guilt-stricken over his impetuous act, and confesses to Judy when he returns to London. Judy is crushed, but, remembering their contract, says that it is unimportant. Nonetheless, Nick swears that it will never happen again and that he loves Judy even more because of her forgiveness. Soon after, Nick is away on business, and Judy dines alone with her friend, Ivan Ronnson, a famous explorer who is in love with her, in his apartment. Judy confesses to Ronnson that she is mad with jealousy over Nick's fling, and that she wishes to hurt him as much as he has hurt her. Ronnson replies that he loves her and asks her if she wants him to stay with her instead of leaving the next morning on his latest expedition. Judy tells him that she must think about it and leaves. Nick, who has been watching Ronnson's apartment, fails to see Judy leave the building but notices her car, which she has left there. Judy spends the night pacing the streets while Nick stays outside the apartment, waiting for Judy to appear. In the morning, Nick finally leaves, and Judy delivers a letter to Ronnson saying goodbye and that she is proud to have his love. Judy returns home, where an irate Nick accuses her of having a tryst with Ronnson. Judy tells him that she spent the night walking, but he does not believe her, and after he storms off, he goes to Ronnson's, where he finds the letter Judy left. The couple separate, and a month later, when Nick visits Judy, she informs him that she is pregnant. At first Nick is elated, but then he questions whether the child is his. Judy is furious over Nick's continuing refusal to believe her, and after declaring that their marriage is over, she leaves in a rage. Later, Stephanie visits Judy and asks her to free Nick so that she can marry him when her own divorce proceedings are completed. Judy coldly informs her that she can take Nick if she wants him, and soon, after Judy and Nick's son is born, the Randalls' divorce case goes to court. Nick, desperate to win Judy back, begs his lawyer to stop the case, but he is informed that because his own adultery has been proven, English law will forbid the divorce only if it is shown that Judy was also unfaithful. Nick's lawyer questions Judy about her fateful evening with Ronnson and introduces her letter as evidence. Despite Judy's protests of innocence, the judge accepts the evidence and dismisses Judy's case. Nick jubilantly grabs Judy, and after explaining that he did not intend to hurt her by revealing the incident, tells her that he believes her. The pair agree to forgive and forget and sneak away from their lawyers to begin a new life together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.